First Scribe Books is pleased and proud to offer as its inaugural publication Warrior Song, an intense, broad-stroked, over-under-inner-outer-view of the international Black music scene from cultural journalist Djehuti wa Kamau.
We all know there are many, many titles on Black music saturating the publishing market, possibly too many, and definitely more than enough to keep up with; but, without doubt, Warrior Song is one book like no other. Anchored with the subtitle A PanAfrikan Centered Handbook for Cultural Liberation and Salvation via the Medium of Music, Warrior Song makes long, hard observations and equally-measured commentary on how the world of the music industry and other powers-that-be affect communities of the African Diaspora—most unfortunately in an adverse manner, as can immediately be seen and heard with the turning on of a TV, radio, or computer monitor.
Leaving as few stones unturned as can be, wa Kamau has written an all-encompassing treatise on Black music, and a glimpse at only a few of the topics discussed proves just that: Early Greek and Roman historical testimony to the African origins of Greco-Roman music culture; revealing the real pirates and gangsters of the music business; how music is literally used as a weapon in, out of, and in between wars; the direct linkages of the sex, drugs and violence themes currently found in Black music to early Greco-Roman society and the transatlantic slave trade; chastisement of traitorous entertainers-turned-enemies of the Black community and their dastardly deeds; the interrelationship between self-hate, population control, popular music and Black performers; the continuous connection of all music of African origin; an outline for building a communal music-culture system; and much more to keep the reader’s interest above peak level.
Real, honest, and uncompromisingly forthright, the author has taken the utmost care to back up his assertions, as Warrior Song boasts nearly 200 footnotes, a 43-page bibliography (which includes a discography/videography of recommended recordings), and page upon page of in-text citations. So, though he is out to please no one, wa Kamau nevertheless brings high standards to this book.
A work several years in planning and several after that in the making, written under intense pressure—professional and personal—and the target of attack by haters and nay-sayers with little if any encouragement, Warrior Song found completion by wa Kamau, who persevered to the finish line despite those obstacles and also after the theft of his handwritten manuscript and notes, which left him confronting moments of duress and uncertainty. Needless to say, wa Kamau met the challenges and emerged victorious.
Lovers of any style of Black music around the globe will find this publication a necessary title to include in their library, or a fine primer to start one. Make no mistake, though; Warrior Song is not for the faint at heart, and even the strong-willed may have to brace themselves. Djehuti wa Kamau pulls no punches, bars no holds, and goes for the jugular, all the while infusing a crafty humor that keeps the humidity low while the topics heat up with each turned page. Agree with this book’s premise and conclusions or not, your thoughts will be incited in ways and expanded to areas rarely charted. Indeed, when the fire dies down and the smoke clears, when all stones have been cast and the final judgment made, Warrior Song will have proven to be one of the most provocative books of its time.
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ISBN: 0-9779297-1-X; 352 pages; illustrated; $20.95.
First Scribe Books is an independently-owned publishing company committed to bringing quality writings expressing the vast dimensions of the Black experience to the world.